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Peñitas pushes for annexation of bordering land

PEÑITAS—The Peñitas City Council is planning to annex 940 acres of land bordering the city of 5,000 residents.

City Manager Noe Cavazos explained the tracts of land included are up to Mile 4, Tierra Blanca, and a tract south of Mile 3, to the west of the current city limits.

At the City of Peñitas special meeting called on Oct. 30, Finance Director Oscar Cuellar explained public hearings would be scheduled on Nov. 20 and Nov. 27 for citizens to express opinions on the annexations. If there are no objections in the first public hearing, the city plans to follow through with the annexations, which is scheduled for a vote on Dec. 18.

Fulcrum Consulting Services Project Manager Gus Rea explained, the 940 acres includes 82 tracts of land.

“Given they (Peñitas) haven’t annexed in 3 years, you can carry over that land,” Rea said. “A city of this size can only annex 10 percent (annually). You can carry over the 10 percent to the following year, but they can’t annex more than 30 percent.”

Rea added the city could not annex over 99 tracts of land for this year.

Cavazos said the annexation would be beneficial to the residential and business properties that will be brought in. He explained, with the vast area that is Hidalgo County, police protection is one of the many services Peñitas can offer the annexed areas.

“We are closer and able to provide the police protection versus the Sheriff’s Department…being that the county is so big,” Cavazos said.

“We are also in the process of getting our finances together to build our fire department and we would be providing that service also within the next year.”

The city manager also said Peñitas is almost finished with their new sewer plant, which is scheduled to open in the next six weeks.

Cavazos said letters have been sent out to property owners in the proposed annexation areas. Concerns may arise with property owners over additional city taxes and sewer and garage collection fees.

“Right now, our residents pay an average of $35 to $40 per month to contract directly with independent companies,” Cavazos said.

He explained the city plans to contract with one provider for garbage collection who will service the whole city. This will enable the city to negotiate a lower garbage rate for city residents.

“You get the whole city together and your service fees would come down to about $14, they will save money with garbage that they can use for sewer…. It will level out.

The city manager said the new residents will see the added city tax but explained Peñitas has one of the lowest tax rates in the Rio Grande Valley, which would be minimal in comparison to the services received.

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